August 11, 2014

The Colorblind Designer

8.11 ryan

The title of this post kind of seems like an oxymoron moron, like “jumbo shrimp” or “advanced beginner.” Most people are absolutely shocked when I tell them I am colorblind, considering that I am a designer. They immediately say “How do you do your job?” and start pointing to different colors for me to pick out.

Contrary to common perception, my colorblindness rarely, if ever, it affects my ability to do my job. I spend a good portion of my job thinking about color and how it impacts the communication behind a design. I can pick out the smallest distinctions between colors but still can not manage to see the sailboat in the image above. On occasion, I might need a little extra time to distinguish a color or a larger swatch, but I find my way.

I found out at a fairly young age about my color deficiency. The only time in my life I can remember not being able to blatantly tell colors was when I was playing soccer around the age of 12. I was on a new team and we were royal blue. Just my luck, the first team we had to play was the purple team. Having to make quick decisions during a game, I kept mistakenly passing the ball to the other team because I was unfamiliar with my teammates, and could not distinguish between blue and purple. Colorblindness runs in my family so who knows why I can see color as well as I do. I feel privileged to be able to do so because I have one friend who is colorblind and he can’t even manage to match his shirts and ties!

Color is so important to the field that we work in here at Delucchi Plus. It communicates such a wide variety of emotions and distinctions. Can you imagine if you saw a green stop sign or purple school bus? We see so many colors everyday and each color is picked for a specific reason. Let’s all take a moment to appreciate Pantone, CMYK, RGB and hexadecimal colors, even if you’re colorblind like me!